PROFILE S. Seshagiri Rao

Veeneya Bedagidu Mysuru’ is one of the several epithets for Mysore. The erstwhile Mysore state has produced many illustrious stars in veena and a unique style known as the Mysore bani is in vogue even to this day. The region has produced great exponents in violin too. Sangita Kalanidhi T. Chowdiah, who troduced a seven-stringed violin in place of the conventional four-stringed one was the first violinist from Karnataka to reach the top echelons of Carnatic music. S. Seshagiri Rao has been the foremost among the following generations of excellent violinists in the state. He has been a reputed accompanist and soloist for more than six decades.

He was born in 1944 in a musical family in Bengaluru. Life was not a bed of roses for him as he lost his mother when he was just two years old. The responsibility of raising Seshagiri Rao and his elder brother Srinivasa Rao fell on the shoulders of his father H.S. Venkatasubba Rao, an accomplished violinist himself.

Seshagiri Rao started violin lessons with his father at the age of 13, but this too did not last long as his father passed away four years later. Undeterred by the tragedy and the hardships he faced early in his life, Seshagiri did not give up and with grit and determination, continued to practise eight to ten hours a day. Though he did not receive, nor could afford formal training, he developed a unique style of his own based on the solid foundation laid by his father… read more